BY Peter Diamond | July 19 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

No Anti-Catholic marches past Catholic Churches, silent protest at St Alphonsus RC Church, Glasgow,Protesting at the Bridgeton Loyal Orange and Purple District No37 march past the church.Sat 16th February 2019.Photo by and copyright of Paul Mc Sherry 07770 393960 @Paulmcsherry2

Church of Scotland ministers reject association with the Orange Order

There are no formal ties or association between the Kirk and the Orange Order, Church of Scotland ministers told the SCO this week.

Ministers from parishes in Larkhall, Springburn and Drumchapel rejected any narrative that there was a connection between the two.

Rev Alastair McKillop, Church of Scotland Minister for St Machan’s Parish Church, Larkhall said: “Prior to coming here I spent nine years in Aberdeen and there was zero connection with any aspect of the Orange Order.

“I’ve been based in Larkhall for 14 years and I’ve came across very little association with the Orange Order. There has been the odd funeral where they attend in numbers or at Remembrance Sunday.”

 

‘Sectarian community’

Larkhall was once dubbed ‘Scotland’s most sectarian community’ and between 2004 and 2007 South Lanarkshire Council spent £17,000 repairing green traffic lights believed to have been smashed by vandals.

Some retail chains in the town with green shop fronts, including the Subway sandwich chain, have changed their colours in the town.

“People with the media’s impression of Larkhall may be surprised to hear this but I’ve not experienced or had much contact with any of [the Orange Order], nor do any of the Christian churches here to my knowledge,” Rev McKillop said.

 

Ecumenism

“We get on great with Fr Rooney at St Mary’s and have taken part in different events together, which have always been positive experiences.

“At Easter we always go walking on pilgrimage around all the churches in Larkhall and I always make a point of coordinating the finish in St Mary’s.

“People’s perception of Larkhall and the reality is probably very different and promoting a different picture is perhaps needed. It’s nowhere near what it used to be and I am not aware of anyone in my congregation that’s a member of the Orange Order.”

 

Arrests

Last week a member of Drumchapel flute band allegedly assaulted a woman who walked through the biggest Orange walk in Scotland. Police have made two arrests.

Rev John Purves, minister for St Andrew’s Church, Drumchapel said that ecumenical ties between Catholics and Protestants in the town were strong.

“We work very closely with the Roman Catholic Church in Drumchapel and that is of great significance and importance to the ecumenical ties within the community,” he said. “We don’t have any connection with the local Orange Order.”

He added: “In my 30 years as minister here the relationship with the Catholic community has been strong. If I am on holiday and there is no service nearby I will often attend a Catholic Mass purely to take part in the worship, which I always enjoy.”

 

Canon Tom White

In Springburn, Rev Brian Casey revealed that he wrote to Canon Tom White after the Glasgow priest was attacked outside St Alphonsus’ Church last year.

“The Church of Scotland has distinctly moved away from any association with the Orange Order particularly in recent years with things that have happened around Orange walks,” said Rev Casey, minster of Springburn Parish Church.

“We have done away with the idea that we’re anti-Catholic and I think we’ve even apologised for it but we’re certainly not Orange either. Secularism is today’s great threat.”

 

Christians before Orangemen

Rev Casey added: “I’m not a member but I know there are members of the Orange Order within our churches and the Episcopal churches.

“Some are very good Christians and I would like to think they are Christians before they are Orangemen but there are no formal ties between the two organisations.”

 

Rerouting

On matters relating to Orange walks, Rev Casey said: “We need to speak to each other and decide on routes which are sensitive and kind to both parties, but ultimately I feel as though the routes need to be reviewed.

“The Orange walk goes past my church every year and they respect the rule of worship and I hope the case of Canon Tom is never repeated.

“It’s probably correct that the government has taken the issue out of the hands of both parties and has a much wider conversation about this.

“I personally wrote to Canon Tom White after his attack: it was terrible, no member of the clergy should be attacked like that.

“You get cultural Christians on both sides of the Catholic and Protestant spectrum and they are the biggest problem to overcoming that divide so to speak.

“The fact that many people don’t come to church is the biggest part of that problem and obviously football plays a role as well.”

 

Humanist threat

He added: “I feel as though I am fighting humanism and secular views everyday as a minister and if we are too busy fighting each other we will lose that fight. At the end of the day we are all Christians and we have been coming closer together now for a number of years.”

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